Unfortunately this has turned into more of a venue than a gig review, but the reasons will become apparent as you read on... My first visit to the Fleece in 6 years, and despite being burnt down and rebuilt, nothing appears to have changed. Arriving a bit late, we missed support band ‘Park’ who according to the P.A. man ‘had a good sound’. The same could not be said of main act Panic Button, who although energetic and bouncing up and down, struggled to be heard with any clarity - guitars and vocals disappearing in a mush of hi-mid distortion which burnt ears and made talking or ordering a beer a difficult process. A shame because the band appeared to have some catchy, melodic, vaguely indie / slightly ska oriented songs, and a talented vocalist.
The venue did not endear itself with dodgy cracked plastic glasses and unpalatable beer, plus moody bar staff who proceeded to spray the place with disinfectant whilst people were still drinking up. A sad throwback to the scuzzy 80’s venues I thought had disappeared in the ‘trendy 90’s’, and a reminder of why I stopped going to see bands at these kind of places. In a strange parallel universe perhaps this is why the Fleece still appeals to a rock and punk crowd. I expected better from such a high profile gig centre - no reflection on the promoters, but bad treatment of punters does not compensate for a cheapish door price - sort your act out Fleece and Firkin and make people feel they’re getting their moneys worth.
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